Rangefinder Quirks
Old 04-10-2014   #1
finarphin
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Rangefinder Quirks

I have two rangefinders: a Leica IIIc and a Leica IIIf. I have some questions, and so I started this thread. I hope it's all right.

Both of these cameras have light leaks in the shutter. I'm wondering is this typical for Leica IIIs, or just typical for Leica IIIs that need maintenance?

I also notice that the framing of the image in the viewfinder is different than through the lens. If the camera is in landscape orientation, the top of the frame shows less on the negative. Is this typical for Leica IIIs, or could the rangefinder somehow be out of alignment? I also have a Canon powershot, also a rangefinder, but on that one the rangefinder shows more than what the sensor gets.

Finally, the mode of attachment of images to posts in this forum is something I'm not familiar with. I wonder if someone could explain the algorithm for that.

Thank you.
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Old 04-10-2014   #2
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Welcome! Last question first... This is a fairly common concern, and is addressed at length in the first/sticky thread in the Forum HELP! forum here: http://www.rangefinderforum.com/foru...play.php?f=190

Then, framing. This is a normal effect of parallax, that is the difference in the view of the subject due to the optical viewfinder being in a different place than the lens that makes the picture. Usually, there are some marks in an accessory viewfinder to show a different cut-off for close-up shooting than for a more distant subject, as parallax is accentuated at close range. As mentioned, this is normal for a camera using an optical viewfinder, and it is eliminated in the SLR camera and any others where you view the scene as imaged through the taking lens (such as using the LCD screen on a digital camera). The solution for the viewfinder cameras is to get comfortable with how your camera behaves.

Finally, light leaks. These cameras have a cloth focal plane shutter. Sometimes people report pinholes in the shutters, and I have seen this myself. These were dark spots on negs from a used RF camera that had been in a west-facing showroom window... The sun occasionally was in a spot where the light was imaged by the lens onto the shutter, burning a hole. A metal shutter would have an advantage here, as would not letting the camera point at the sun without a lens cap.

There are other sources of light leaks, but on the III the unit construction makes them unlikely.
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Old 04-10-2014   #3
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Hi,
A Leica IIIc or IIIf with light leaks in the shutter (or anyplace else) needs to be serviced. The bad news is that the repair is likely to be expensive; the good news is that it should last for many years. I chose to upgrade from a Leica IIf to the M4 shortly after the M4 was introduced and have been happily using Leica Ms ever since. I've also read some good reviews of the later Canon rengefinder cameras - the 5, 7, L, and P. I wish you good success in getting at least ONE camera working properly.
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Old 04-11-2014   #4
David Hughes
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Hi,

You say "Both of these cameras have light leaks in the shutter. I'm wondering is this typical for Leica IIIs, or just typical for Leica IIIs that need maintenance?" Well, the simple answer is that it's typical of old age for those shutter blinds. The IIIc could be over 70 years old.

They can be repaired, many have used various black paints or replaced, at a price. It's not always expensive as there's quite a demand for them these days and so they are readily available. But don't ask where as I am not into fixing them myself.

Pinholes show up as flares of light in a regular pattern on the negatives. Not all negatives will show them as the lens cap stops the light getting to them.
Hope this helps.

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Old 04-11-2014   #5
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With regard to "framing being off", I think this might be caused by use of modern disposable film cassettes, which tend to "ride lower" in the camera body than the re-loadable Leica brass magazines.

The result is the top of the image frame winds-up tracking over the sprocket holes. Some folks add a thin brass washer under the screw that secures the latch to the external knob, which causes the cassette to sit a little higher inside the camera body, and centers the frame between the sprocket-holes.

The issue with light leaks can be tricky... light leaks from missing body screws usually show-up along the edge of the film, flaring-in towards the center of the film... holes in shutter curtains can be more elusive.

I have a really nice Leica III-f that started behaving strangely - there were these strange bright-specks in the prints that looked at first like some sort of weird lens flare. But they weren't there all the time... next roll, there were more of them. I was blaming the lens at first, because the phenomenon occurred mainly when shooting into strong light...

Eventually I figured-out that it was really the shutter curtains - they were becoming all crackly.

It's not easy to check the curtains on a screw-mount Leica, because the back does not come-off.

A "process of elimination" test might be to carefully wrap the upper and lower body seams ( where the top plate / bottom plate meet the body ) with electrical tape, then shooting a test roll, several frames with the camera all wrapped, then remove the tape one band at a time, shooting a few more frames each time, until the camera is bare. Take notes as to which frames have which areas masked.

If the "light-leaks" persist with the camera taped-up, then you probably have compromised shutter blinds.

I have three Leica III's, two from 1933 and one from 1934, and a Leica II from 1932, and all have what appear to be their original curtains, and all are light-tight.

Let us know what you find with yours...
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Old 04-11-2014   #6
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Thanks, everybody, for taking the time to address my concerns.

I was aware of parallax, but I think that's not the reason I'm losing the top 10 percent of the frame at 30 yards. Film canister registration...interesting. Washers.

I'm sure the shutter curtains have holes -- or at least non-opaque areas -- as opposed to light creeping in from around the edges. I was just wondering if this was typical of Leica IIIs in general (with any kind of curtain, new or old). So now I know: with new curtains it won't happen. New curtains: 200 dollars. Check.

Attachment; looks like it may have succeeded.



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File Type: jpg Leica test 03 - small.jpg (47.8 KB, 67 views)

Last edited by finarphin : 04-12-2014 at 14:18. Reason: attach photo
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Film canister registration...
Old 04-12-2014   #7
David Hughes
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Film canister registration...

Hi,

FWIW, I did a lot of measuring and so on and published the results here on RFF. The original Leica cassettes (the blackened brass ones) are 47mm high and the modern ones you get with film already in them are nearer 42˝mm high. So there's a bit of room for slippage.

Secondly, colour film was slide film originally, not prints which came a lot later. So view finders tended to show a little less than the frame because slide mounts were slightly smaller than 24 x 36mm. You'll find this attitude persisted for a lot longer than you'd think if you do a bit of research. It was even used as the reason for SLR's only showing ninety something per cent of the frame...

The cure for slipping cassettes is a corn plaster or two on the cassette as they are the about right thickness and have a suitable hole for the rewind lugs etc to work. If you want to be precise then you'll have to align a modern cassette with a FILCA and work from there.

Have fun.

Regards, David
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Old 04-13-2014   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finarphin View Post
Thanks, everybody, for taking the time to address my concerns.

I was aware of parallax, but I think that's not the reason I'm losing the top 10 percent of the frame at 30 yards. Film canister registration...interesting. Washers.

I'm sure the shutter curtains have holes -- or at least non-opaque areas -- as opposed to light creeping in from around the edges. I was just wondering if this was typical of Leica IIIs in general (with any kind of curtain, new or old). So now I know: with new curtains it won't happen. New curtains: 200 dollars. Check.

Attachment; looks like it may have succeeded.



That's a "holy curtain" alright... . The fact that the leaks are "sprinkled" through-out the frame suggest that the rubberized curtain material is breaking-down, and not that the camera was left looking at the sun with the lens stopped-down and no lens-cap.

Otherwise, the image looks nice... what lens were you shooting?
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Old 04-13-2014   #9
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Remember, the lens inverts the image. When the cassette rides lower, the film will see the top of the image just fine. If any thing were to be cut off, it should be at the bottom.
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Old 04-13-2014   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
That's a "holy curtain" alright... . The fact that the leaks are "sprinkled" through-out the frame suggest that the rubberized curtain material is breaking-down, and not that the camera was left looking at the sun with the lens stopped-down and no lens-cap.

Otherwise, the image looks nice... what lens were you shooting?

This was using a 1953 Leica Summicron 50mm f2 lens. It's stuck on infinity.

I agree, I think it looks good otherwise.
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Old 04-14-2014   #11
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Hi,

Reading the thread again I can't help thinking that a lot of people with ex-USSR cameras and lenses ought to be made to read it. It might give them a yard stick and stop the rants about QC 50 or 60 years after the event.

Regards, David
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Old 04-14-2014   #12
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Regarding slipping cassettes: instead of seperate washers you can also unscrew that one screw (beneath where the cassette sits), take the small black washer underneath, turn it upside down and retighten the screw. This raises the washer a few mm and cures the "sprocket holes in the picture" problem.
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Old 04-14-2014   #13
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I suppose "expensive" is a relative term, but I had Youxin Ye replace one of the curtains in my IIIc last summer--it had pinholes. It was about $200, including a CLA.

$200 is $200, of course, but I think that's reasonable to keep my 65-year-old camera functioning.
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Old 04-14-2014   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Luddite Frank View Post
That's a "holy curtain" alright... . The fact that the leaks are "sprinkled" through-out the frame suggest that the rubberized curtain material is breaking-down, and not that the camera was left looking at the sun with the lens stopped-down and no lens-cap.

Otherwise, the image looks nice... what lens were you shooting?

Here are three examples from the other camera (a Leica IIIc). I sent it back. It was usable, I think, if you were judicious with the lens cap (I don't have a lens cap), and if you want to use a lot of clone tool in the photo editing software.
Attached Images
File Type: jpg LBR 0017.jpg (67.9 KB, 36 views)
File Type: jpg LBR 0019.jpg (55.3 KB, 37 views)
File Type: jpg LBR 0008b.jpg (79.5 KB, 29 views)
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Old 04-14-2014   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes View Post
Hi,

FWIW, I did a lot of measuring and so on and published the results here on RFF. The original Leica cassettes (the blackened brass ones) are 47mm high and the modern ones you get with film already in them are nearer 42˝mm high. So there's a bit of room for slippage.

Secondly, colour film was slide film originally, not prints which came a lot later. So view finders tended to show a little less than the frame because slide mounts were slightly smaller than 24 x 36mm. You'll find this attitude persisted for a lot longer than you'd think if you do a bit of research. It was even used as the reason for SLR's only showing ninety something per cent of the frame...

The cure for slipping cassettes is a corn plaster or two on the cassette as they are the about right thickness and have a suitable hole for the rewind lugs etc to work. If you want to be precise then you'll have to align a modern cassette with a FILCA and work from there.

Have fun.

Regards, David
Thanks David, I think you have explained the problem.

If I am understanding you correctly, the modern canisters sit lower in the camera, with the result that the top of the frame (the bottom edge of the film) is lower than it should be -- it's out of registration -- and there's less image exposed than what you thought would be by looking through the viewfinder. There's also a strip of unexposed film between the top of the frame and the edge of the sprocket holes. On the other end, the bottom of the frame (and the top edge of the film) the image creeps "up", overlapping the sprocket holes.

This was using a Leica IIIc. Apparently, and I don't know this for a fact, Lieca IIIf and later had a "flange" that either reduces or eliminates this problem. This is a Grade-A quirk.

Attached scan. The scan quality is crappy with all those horizontal lines, but you can see where the image boundaries are on the film, which I have tried to highlight in red.
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File Type: jpg Register example.jpg (67.3 KB, 49 views)
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Old 04-14-2014   #16
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First, welcome to RFF from another Sacramentan! I can recommend Youxin Ye in Massachusetts for shutter curtain repair and servicing of your Leica IIIf. He brought my IIIc back to life and repaired my Canon IVSB2 as well. He's reasonable and has a fast turnaround time. A good guy to deal with.
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Old 04-15-2014   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Bingley View Post
First, welcome to RFF from another Sacramentan! I can recommend Youxin Ye in Massachusetts for shutter curtain repair and servicing of your Leica IIIf. He brought my IIIc back to life and repaired my Canon IVSB2 as well. He's reasonable and has a fast turnaround time. A good guy to deal with.
Thanks; I'll keep that in mind.
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Old 04-16-2014   #18
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Quote:
Originally Posted by finarphin View Post
Thanks David, I think you have explained the problem.

If I am understanding you correctly, the modern canisters sit lower in the camera, with the result that the top of the frame (the bottom edge of the film) is lower than it should be -- it's out of registration -- and there's less image exposed than what you thought would be by looking through the viewfinder. There's also a strip of unexposed film between the top of the frame and the edge of the sprocket holes. On the other end, the bottom of the frame (and the top edge of the film) the image creeps "up", overlapping the sprocket holes.

This was using a Leica IIIc. Apparently, and I don't know this for a fact, Lieca IIIf and later had a "flange" that either reduces or eliminates this problem. This is a Grade-A quirk.

Attached scan. The scan quality is crappy with all those horizontal lines, but you can see where the image boundaries are on the film, which I have tried to highlight in red.
Hi,

Yes, you got it first time. I'll add that experience tells me that the smaller modern cassette can move a bit and you'll get diagonal miss-framing sometimes. The problem then gets worse as the camera's framing of the negative doesn't line up with the scanner or enlarger's frame. It can be a PITA at times and on other occasions I've cured it by having not 5 x 7's but 4.9's by 7's. It's what your print trimmer's for...

Have fun explaining why your camera needs corn plasters at the store. ;-)

Regards, David
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Old 04-26-2014   #19
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Focus

My lens focuses now; that's half the battle. I looked up "Summicron focus stuck" on Google, and sifted through the hits. One of them, which I can't find now, suggested heat, but not too much. So I put the lens in a plastic bag and carried it around in my pocket for about three hours. Body heat. It worked. the focusing ring moves now.

Funny image through the viewfinder. I can barely see the second image. It's there, though.
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Old 04-27-2014   #20
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Quote:
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Funny image through the viewfinder. I can barely see the second image. It's there, though.
Propably desilvering of the beamsplitter (the small 50/50 mirror which projects the split image into the RF window).
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Unquirk
Old 04-27-2014   #21
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Unquirk

Having obtained a lens cap I thought I would test whether keeping it on except when exposing the film would make a difference: result, not much. With the other one it would have, probably. It's almost usable, demanding a painful amount of clone tool. But I like the lens. It has its own peculiar quality to it.
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Old 04-27-2014   #22
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You think you have problems, I have shutter bounce, see right.

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Sky
Old 04-27-2014   #23
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Sky

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You think you have problems, I have shutter bounce, see right.
Nice shot of the sky...that is the sky, right?

What is shutter bounce, precious?
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Old 04-27-2014   #24
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Originally Posted by charjohncarter View Post
You think you have problems, I have shutter bounce, see right.
John

If your scanner is a coolscan, your camera may be perfectly ok.
Nikon scans tend to show this annoying strip at the end of the frame.
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Old 04-28-2014   #25
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John

If your scanner is a coolscan, your camera may be perfectly ok.
Nikon scans tend to show this annoying strip at the end of the frame.
Thanks for the encouragement but I don't use CoolScan. I only happens on 1/100 and 1/75. So for now I'm avoiding those speeds. There is an easy adjustment (shutter brake), but figuring how much to adjust is the problem. So I'm going to find someone local to do it, if they have the right testing equipment.
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Old 04-28-2014   #26
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You think you have problems, I have shutter bounce, see right.

It doesn't look like shutter bounce to me, but something holding up the leading curtain just at the end of its travel. If it were shutter bounce, the righthand bit would be overexposed, not underexposed. This is a common problem. It probably isn't the brake, which engages a bit further along the first curtain travel. I suspect you may also be seeing capping at the extreme edge at the highest shutter speed as well.

Right at the end of the first curtain travel, the rotating disc on the bottom of the camera encounters the flat spring that pushes up on the vertical shaft that engages the slow speed pawl. The spring may be roughened by corrosion or just crudded up, or the shaft may be sticky in its travel. Try taking out the spring and cleaning it, and putting a tiny bit of very light oil on the shaft where it passes through the baseplate. You may even want to flatten the raised part of the spring a tiny bit to reduce the drag, but be careful not to do this to the point where the slow speeds don't engage.

I have attached a photo of the relevant bits in a Leica IIIB, but a similar design exists with the later models, and all the Leica clones as well.



Good Luck!

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Old 04-28-2014   #27
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Shutter brake adjustment is really not that hard

http://www.pentax-manuals.com/manual...unt_leicas.pdf

p.129 for how it works
p.143 for adjusting it
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Old 04-28-2014   #28
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Thanks Dez and Filzkoeter. I appreciate the info. Next I have to try.
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Old 05-09-2014   #29
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More quirks, or perhaps vicissitudes would be a better word. I bought three IIIf's on ebay, and they all had problems with their shutters. So I tried KEH Camera. I was careful to inquire whether their "BGN" example had light leaks in the shutter. "Oh no, we test everything." Very good. Except when it arrived it wouldn't accept film. Disgusted, I sent it in for service, elsewhere. If they tested it they didn't test it very well; it had a misaligned pressure plate and some other problems, now resolved. So now I have one that actually works, meaning it will take pictures in the usual way.

I notice that, despite its being a IIIf, it still has misaligned film across the shutter; maybe not as bad as the IIIc, but noticeable. I'm going to try me a one millimeter washer.

I discovered something else about the lens. Summicrons have a little button on the focusing ring. I thought that was for aid in moving the ring, and it probably is. But it's also spring loaded, and when the focusing ring is moved to infinity, it pops into a slot and won't move, unless you reverse the spring loaded mechanism with pressure. Sheesh.

I also notice that I need a viewfinder for the 85mm lens; it doesn't take right from the middle of the 50mm frame. Good lens, though.
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Old 05-10-2014   #30
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More quirks, or perhaps vicissitudes would be a better word. ... I discovered something else about the lens. Summicrons have a little button on the focusing ring. I thought that was for aid in moving the ring, and it probably is. But it's also spring loaded, and when the focusing ring is moved to infinity, it pops into a slot and won't move, unless you reverse the spring loaded mechanism with pressure. Sheesh.
Yes, as they say about software, that's a feature, not a bug. Very useful when screwing the lens on and off the camera.
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Old 05-10-2014   #31
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Hi,

A lot of people think it's for holding the lens still whilst setting the aperture and then focusing. Focus and then set the aperture and you'll need to re-focus most times.

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Old 05-10-2014   #32
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More quirks, or perhaps vicissitudes would be a better word. I bought three IIIf's on ebay, and they all had problems with their shutters. So I tried KEH Camera. I was careful to inquire whether their "BGN" example had light leaks in the shutter. "Oh no, we test everything." Very good. Except when it arrived it wouldn't accept film. Disgusted, I sent it in for service, elsewhere. If they tested it they didn't test it very well; it had a misaligned pressure plate and some other problems, now resolved. So now I have one that actually works, meaning it will take pictures in the usual way.
I wish I was the sort who has a knack for fixing things. Knowing that I don't have the talent or time, I bought my IIIf and Elmar 5cm combination through Youxin Ye. He has a number of cameras and lenses available to sell. I simply shot him an e-mail asking if he could select the camera and lens for me and get them into shape. He asked a few questions -- why the IIIf over the IIIc and did I want an Summitar or Elmar-- and then did the rest--and he was fast. I've had no trouble since buying it over two years ago (knock on wood). I'm sure I paid more than getting the camera on E-bay, but it was reasonable and I am happy.
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Old 05-10-2014   #33
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I wish I was the sort who has a knack for fixing things. Knowing that I don't have the talent or time, I bought my IIIf and Elmar 5cm combination through Youxin Ye. He has a number of cameras and lenses available to sell. I simply shot him an e-mail asking if he could select the camera and lens for me and get them into shape. He asked a few questions -- why the IIIf over the IIIc and did I want an Summitar or Elmar-- and then did the rest--and he was fast. I've had no trouble since buying it over two years ago (knock on wood). I'm sure I paid more than getting the camera on E-bay, but it was reasonable and I am happy.
You were smart. He fixed my camera; had it done very quickly.
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Old 08-03-2014   #34
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I got another quirk, or maybe it's more a question of ineptitude. I've been able to load the film into the camera, trip the shutter, and wind: I'm also able to watch the film advance.

Then I put the bottom on and take pictures. With one roll it worked. I got exposures. With three other rolls I got a failure of the film to advance, even though the shutter seems to fire, and the film advance knob revolves.
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Old 08-03-2014   #35
Scrambler
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Originally Posted by finarphin View Post
I got another quirk, or maybe it's more a question of ineptitude. I've been able to load the film into the camera, trip the shutter, and wind: I'm also able to watch the film advance. Then I put the bottom on and take pictures. With one roll it worked. I got exposures. With three other rolls I got a failure of the film to advance, even though the shutter seems to fire, and the film advance knob revolves.
Which camera please?
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Old 08-04-2014   #36
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Which camera please?
Leica IIIf.
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Old 08-04-2014   #37
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1) Push the film really hard into the takeup spool.
2) Buy a FED takeup spool off ebay (or similar) and use that: they fit Barnacks nicely but have a hook which grabs the sprocket holes on the film. I had to file one (of 3) slightly on the end to make it fit.

I use these in preference because it is really hard to get the film back out of them. Downside: you need to stop when you feel firm resistance & pull the takeup spool out when removing the fillm canister, or risk breaking things and leaving film chips in the camera.
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Old 08-05-2014   #38
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Hi,

Quotes:- "even though the shutter seems to fire, and the film advance knob revolves".

That's the mistake, you should be watching the rewind knob and checking it rotates. I hope that doesn't sound too rude but it's something we all learn the hard way.

BTW there's two or three types of FED take up spool; as the Ukrainian technicians/designers made some improvements to them. Best to get a selection, if you go down that path. OTOH, I could have a FED camera with a genuine Leitz spool in it...

And (2) get the fit of the Leica's take up spool on the axle checked as it may just need adjusting. That assumes you've checked the clip on the Leitz spool, which can and does fail, mostly by being too loose to hold the film.

Regards, David
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Old 08-06-2014   #39
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1) Push the film really hard into the takeup spool.
2) Buy a FED takeup spool off ebay (or similar) and use that: they fit Barnacks nicely but have a hook which grabs the sprocket holes on the film.
1) I've tried that; I was suspicious.

2) Thanks, mate, I might try that. It appears some have hooks and some don't. I've had my camera serviced once so far, and there were bits of film debris in it the first time.

Quote:
Originally Posted by David Hughes
That's the mistake, you should be watching the rewind knob and checking it rotates. I hope that doesn't sound too rude but it's something we all learn the hard way.
Thank you, I'll watch that. I didn't think it rude at all. However if you had said, "That's the fault..." then that would be rude. As in the following exchange:

P1: Lend me thy handkerchief.

P2: Here, my Lord.

P1: That which I gave you.

P2: I have it not about me.

P1: Not?

P2: No indeed, my Lord.

P1: That's a fault.

Rude, particularly if followed up with a stronger phrase, such as "For that thou diest." Totally rude. David isn't rude, David is a cool dude.
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Old 08-09-2014   #40
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Just scanned this thread, but if you have several things wrong with the cameras, it may be cheaper to sell them and buy one that is working well, than fixing them. For example, if you have light leaks in a IIIc, like I did, Yousin told me they really didn't have seals. He never fixed that problem. Shutter curtain replacement, and fixing the braking, and lubing it may cost a total of $200 or more. You can buy another Leica IIIc for about that much, with a recent CLA.
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